What to do when a secondary female is trying get the primary male to breakup with the primary female in a polyamorous relationship?
This was not an Ask the Misanthrope Question, but a search term that appeared to link to this blog. In casting around for a topic upon which to write, I figured this was a good one.
If you do primary/secondary poly (and not all do) there is a time-honored and wonderful response to this.
Not a goddamned thing.
No, don’t look at me like I have three heads. I’m serious on this one. While I really do, no kidding, believe in being proactive, this isn’t in your hands. If your primary wants to stay, s/he’ll stay. If s/he doesn’t, s/he won’t. Simple, simple, easy-peasy. Ultimately, you’re being done a favor, no matter how much it might hurt or suck in the face of it. And yeah, losing a partner hurts and sucks. I’m not trying to blow that off, ’cause, man… Ouch. You can feel like someone’s performing an autopsy on your living body in the process. I get that.
If another person really can break up a relationship between yourself and a love, you need to let it happen. Seriously. Otherwise, you’ve got someone who is only half-heartedly committed or interested. Who wants or needs that crap? You’re only going to be let down, and maybe in a worse way than is facing you.
If the relationship can’t be broken up, then you’ve got some tempered steel there in the relationship that is truly awesome, wonderful and valuable. Try to be worthy of it!
Now, maybe you favor a little more communication than what I’ve advised. You know, communication can be good, too. So, here’s some things you can say:
“I love you and want to stay with you. I am concerned about what’s going on. Do you want to stay with me?”
Ain’t nuttin’ wrong with asking for what you want and saying how you feel. This can take some courage, especially if you’re feeling insecure. But if you’ve got a good relationship with someone who tells you the truth,* you’ll get the truth and will have somewhere to go from there.
“I see <secondary> doing <foo>, <foo1>, and <foo2>. It worries me. What do you think about it?”
You have to be absolutely concrete about behavior here. You might have a “feeling”, but unless there’s behavior to hang it on, discussions about it aren’t going to be very productive. In fact, if there’s nothing concrete to hang it on, your best bet is to observe rather than be reactive. In this instance, once you’ve identified the behavior, you’re still not interpreting it. You’re also showing that you’re open to learning what’s going on. You’ve got a concern, you’re bringing it up and you’re willing to listen to the answer.
But the big takeaway here is that no matter what, if you’re looking for a magic formula to enforce a specific dynamic, it ain’ta gonna happen. If you’re looking for advice on “how to keep your man”, I can’t help you. I don’t even think it’s wise. If he wants to go, let him go. I hope you’re too stinkin’ proud to remain in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be there, anyway. Certainly you deserve better.
* If you have a partner that habitually lies to you, that’s an entirely different problem.